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Dewey the Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World - Book Review

Updated on April 5, 2012

One of the most popular books at the moment is Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. It reached number three on the bestseller list. As of October 10, 2008 it was number 4 on Publishers Weekly nonfiction bestsellers list. In September of 2008, it was the most requested book of all time in the Early Reviewer program at Library Thing.

Dewey was an abandoned kitten; he was dumped into the book return at the library in Spencer, Iowa. The librarian who found the half-frozen kitten the next morning wanted to name him Dewey after Melville Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System. However, they decided to let the public decide and held a contest. Dewey ended up being the overwhelming favorite. The kitten's full name became Dewey Readmore Books. Dewey became a member of the staff at the Spencer Library and a member of the fraternity of library cats.

Dewey quickly settled into living in the library and, according to staff, knew just when people needed him to be there for them. He loved to get rides on the library cart and, like most cats, he would try to squeeze himself into any available box. Every morning, the library staff would find Dewey waiting for them at the door where he became the official greeter.

The staff of the library, as well as people from as far away as New York, donated money for Dewey's food. He became a world-wide sensation and a Japanese crew showed up to film a documentary about him. Dewey also brought more people than ever into the library building. Every year they held a birthday party in the library for Dewey.

Dewey passed away at the age of 19 in 2006. He died in the arms of the library director Vicki Myron who had found him in the book return box those many years ago.



After many weeks of waiting, I finally received my copy of Dewey last week. I ended up reading it in one day.

This book not only gives you Dewey's life story, it tells the life story of Vicki Myron and gives you a good idea of what it was like growing up and living in the small towns of middle America. Of course, it always comes back to Dewey.

Dewey certainly was a very special and intelligent cat. He seemed to improve the life of everyone he met, even if just for the second that he made that person smile. The fact Dewey was in the library increased usership in the library and made it a hub of the community.

Overall, it is a well written book. It drags slightly at points, but then Dewey shows up again and everything is fresh and interesting again.

If you like cats, this book will make you cry in parts and in other parts it will make you say "see, I told you cats are smart!" I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. 

I think every library should have a library cat.


Submit a Comment

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    9 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Sound great, crazd. I'd love to read your review and please link it.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great book review UW! I have this book and have yet to read it but so want to. I have to finish a couple of other ones then read this one. Would you mind if after I read it and write my ow review I link your hub to mine? :-)

  • MHilbert profile image


    9 years ago

    I haven't read the book but every time it is returned to my library and we see the cover there is a collective "Awwwwwwwww."

  • disneybooknerd profile image


    9 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

    I loved this book! I even bought it for my aunt who works in a library in Texas (and just so happens to love cats). It took my only a few days to get through it because I couldn't put it down. I enjoy recommending it to my customers at work.

  • mkott profile image


    9 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Living in Iowa and only 75 miles from spencer we all know the story of Dewey. It's a great story.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks Ryan :)

  • Ryan Hupfer profile image

    Ryan Hupfer 

    10 years ago from San Francisco, CA

    What a great story...thanks so much for sharing. :)

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I think Fannie May would be a good name for a cat pjdscott :)

    Thanks for the comments, anything that gets people reading is a good thing.

  • Constant Walker profile image

    Constant Walker 

    10 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

    This sounds like an excellent book! Thanks for the tip, Uninvited.

  • pjdscott profile image


    10 years ago from Durham, UK

    A super story and great hub - I love the idea of calling a cat after a library indexing system! If I had a cat, and bearing in mind the current global financial crisis, I could call it "Footsie" or "Dow" or something!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish MS 

    10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    A wonderful uplifting story! What better place to be dumped in the middle of the nigth than the library drop box into a world of wonder and great people? I want to read the book now, so thanks for telling me about it.

    While I don;t have the full story, in the early 2000s a black kitten was found melted into the asphalt one summer at a truck stop, made the news and was adopted. Friends and I nicknamed him Licorice Kitty though we never met him, and a character evolved as seen on my scary foods hub. HOWEVER, this story beets anything we ever composed with Licorice Kitty and Dr. Mousie, entrepreneur.

    Many thanks for this Hub - you brightened my day. :)

  • spryte profile image


    10 years ago from Arizona, USA

    Knowing the affect that pets have on people, it just seems rather silly to me to NOT have one or two hanging around in places where it would benefit us most. A library is a perfect example. What fun to curl up with a book AND a cat or two. A very smart library and a wonderfully compassionate librarian. I have to admit, your description of her having been there with Dewey when he passed away, hit a sensitive nerve with me since I lost my own 19 year old cat this year. He also passed away in my arms. It sounds to me though, like Dewey led an awesome life.

  • Dottie1 profile image


    10 years ago from MA, USA

    Such a heart warming story...I agree, a loving cat like Dewey would make a great addition to every library.  A must read book!  Thanks.

  • quicksand profile image


    10 years ago

    Being a cat fan myself, I kinda liked this story. :)

  • Benson Yeung profile image

    Benson Yeung 

    10 years ago from Hong Kong

    great read. thanks.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for all the comments. I worked in a university library for 12 years so I'm always interested in library stories and like SweetiePie I love cats :)

  • The Indexer profile image

    John Welford 

    10 years ago from UK

    This post interested me, as I have been a professional librarian since 1976, although I have never worked in public libraries. I seem to remember reading about library cats some time ago - there are apparently a considerable number around the world!

  • SweetiePie profile image


    10 years ago from Southern California, USA

    I have worked at libraries for a great deal of my working career, so this story is of interest to me for sure. Also, I love cats so I must check this out or order it if we do not have it out our library. Interesting hub and thanks for the heads up about great books to read!

  • NYLady profile image


    10 years ago from White Plains, NY

    Hey UW: Liked the hub a lot! Dewey's story sounds great and I have to tell Shade and Buddy (my cats) all about it.

  • Uninvited Writer profile imageAUTHOR

    Susan Keeping 

    10 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for the comment. I wanted to spread the word about Dewey...

  • KT pdx profile image

    KT pdx 

    10 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

    Awwww! I'm going to order that book! Sounds like it's a must-read. Thanks for the information (and the link).


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